What Is Accreditation
Accreditation is an endorsement of a conformity assessment body's (CAB's) competence, credibility, independence and integrity in carrying out its conformity assessment activities.
In everyday language the terms accreditation and certification are often used interchangeably. In the conformity assessment industry however, these terms have very different and specific meanings.
ISO's formal definition of accreditation is "third party attestation related to a conformity assessment body conveying formal demonstration of its competence to carry out specific conformity assessment tasks." (ISO/ IEC 17000:2004) Certification is "third party attestation related to products, processes, systems or persons." (ISO/ IEC 17000:2004) QAC only accredits organisations who provide certification and/ or inspection services. These organisations are known as Conformity Assessment Bodies (or CABs).
Accredited CABs provide certification and inspection services to organisations. Common schemes that CABs certify are quality management systems (QMS) based on the ISO 9001 standard, and environmental management systems (EMS) based on the ISO 14001 standard.
QAC accepts applications for accreditation from Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) around the world. The five general steps that apply to QAC accreditation are outlined below.